Am I that narrow-minded and such a heretic if I do not like Dai Vernon's Cups and Balls routine? Contrary to many magicians I talked to I don't think the routine is well structured. If anything I find it confusing.
First the balls vanish and reappear under the cups.
- Then the part that the spectator decides where the center ball will go.
- After that the penetration of the balls through the cups.
- Followed by the jumping of the outer balls to the center ball.
- Then the bogus explanation with the explanation of the concept of the false transfer and the secret load under the cup.
- And at last, the final loads.
Isn't that a different premise with each effect?
First a vanish and a reappearance. Then a transportation. So far so good, but then penetrations... that is an inconsistent explanation of the miracle. Especially, because in the beginning it could clearly be seen, that it was not a penetration that caused the balls to travel. If Mr. Vernon had chosen not to open his hand after the false transfer of the ball and instead had chosen to push with the hand on the cup, it would have looked like a penetration and therefore consistent. But no, first the whole palette of magic effects is celebrated, regardless of a uniform appearance of the act. Even the transportation of the balls from cup to cup does not fit. Does the ball become invisible after it leaves the cup? Does it travel at all? If Mr. Vernon had chosen that a penetration is the cause for all the effects, a transportation would only be thinkable, if he would have moved with his empty hand near the side of the cup, miming taking out the ball through the wall of the cup and then without opening the hand pushing it into the next cup. But no, he doesn't do that.
The following upsets me the most. He admits that all of it is a swindle. With that he cancels the former premises, which considering the missing consistency of the former part of the routine is not too much of a bad thing and explains the concept of the false transfer. Which disturbs me. Why does he explain the concept? Does it have to be? May be this fit Mr. Vernon, but does every little magic worm have to do it? Especially those who cannot do a proper false transfer.
Then it is time for the final loads... the following note: Darwin Ortiz wrote the wonderful book "Strong Magic". In it he explains the success of the final loads, that a spectators probably perceives the effects of a Cups and Balls routine differently than anticipated by the magician. To him the little balls appear under the cup while they should not be there, therefore a lemon, which really should not be there is a stronger effect.
My opinion: Obviously magicians are often unclear themselves what the cause of the effects is. Be it a penetration, sleight of hand or transportation. So the spectator has to make up his own mind what exactly is the cause of the miracles.
And Vernon's Cups and Balls is a sample item for a routine that is almost good, as it needs only minor modifications to do it right.